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Colorado Republican Party & U.S. Senate Candidate Joe O'Dea Sue Over Dark Money Mailer

DENVER (CBS4) - With Colorado's Primary election just two weeks away, there's no shortage of campaign propaganda. However, a mailer in the Republican Senate Primary could result in criminal charges.

The mailer says the Colorado Republican Party endorsed U.S. Senate candidate Ron Hanks. Party Chair Kristi Burton Brown says it, "has not and does not endorse in primary races." She called the claim "false and malicious."

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Hanks' opponent, Joe O'Dea, says it is also criminal. Under state law, false statements meant to influence the outcome of an election are a crime.

O'Dea plans to file a complaint with the Mesa County District Attorney's Office. Any district attorney in the state can investigate the complaint, but if charges are brought the Attorney General would prosecute the case.

The flyer appears to be part of a tenacious campaign by Democrats to dupe Republican primary voters. Those voters tend to be staunch conservatives so Democrats are promoting far-right candidates who they believe will be easier to beat in the general election against incumbent Sen. Michael Bennet.

The mailer was sent by a company in Iowa which, according to filings with the Federal Election Commission, has only done work for Democratic groups. The company won't reveal who paid for the mailer. There's no name listed on the flyer, as campaign finance laws require.

O'Dea is also filing a complaint with the Federal Election Commission and asking a federal judge for an injunction to stop the company from sending any more mailers.

"The fact that dark money, Schumer and Pelosi, sending it from out-of-state to make sure I'm not on the ballot so I can represent hardworking Coloradans, that should really annoy a lot of the public on all sides. We need representation from here. We don't need an election that's bought by people back East. That's just not right," he said.

Another anonymous mailer attacks O'Dea over gun control even though he's endorsed by the Colorado chapter of the NRA. As CBS4 reported last week, a Democratic group has spent more than a million dollars on a television ad claiming Hanks is the conservative in the race.

Democrats are also propping up far-right candidates in other state Republican primaries.

O'Dea's campaign notes those are the very candidates Democrats say are a threat to democracy and yet they're promoting them even as Congress holds hearings about the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.

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